In the epic battle defined by the need for supremacy, having a competitive nature is essential to one’s survival as a mixed martial arts fighter. In a competition where fighters strive to gain the upper hand over an adversary with similar goals, the platform exists to open doors for athletes to turn their dreams into reality while also providing the opportunity for them to learn about their unlimited potential. Sometimes, a man’s passion is explained through his competitive frame of mind in taking on any and all challenges put in front of him.

Bellator light heavyweight contender Tom DeBlass has a definite knack for competition. Whether it’s a chess match in grappling competitions or bloody wars inside a cage, his unchained fearlessness for stepping onto dangerous grounds has garnered him the reputation of a true warrior that embodies MMA’s overall design for its participants.

As a competitor, DeBlass loves to win. It is the culminating event of his hard work in pushing to become the best. Various mentors over the course of his life instilled in DeBlass the core principles of personal and athletic development. The end result is a fighter knowledgeable of what he must go through to get what he wants in life.

DeBlass (Keith Mills/Sherdog

DeBlass (Keith Mills/Sherdog

“From the time I was a baby, my parents always told me I could be the best if I worked hard enough,” DeBlass told The MMA Corner in an exclusive interview. “I was so fortunate to have them. They would keep me involved with sports each season.

“Besides my parents, I was also blessed with amazing coaches. Growing up, I had Bobby Bauman, Coach Rob Jorgensen, Coach Healey and, of course, my teacher, Ricardo Almeida. All of my coaches never accepted anything less than my best, so that’s exactly what I give each and every time I compete.”

It’s always interesting to see if such motivation will benefit a fighter in their future endeavors. That competitive upbringing has been evident in a career that has included the capturing of numerous World grappling titles and an ascension in the ranks of MMA. Remaining humble throughout the journey, DeBlass, with his level-headed approach in each situation, has been through the highs and lows of each trial that comes with being a part of the sport.

“I dive head first into challenges,” he admitted. “There will always be ups and downs, so I try never to get too excited when things go my way, and I try not to get too disappointed when things don’t go my way. My spirit will never be broken. I’m here to stay, and only myself and God will decide otherwise.”

DeBlass (Keith Mills/Sherdog

DeBlass (Keith Mills/Sherdog

Aside from the glory that feeds his warrior’s competitive appetite, DeBlass also focuses his attention toward other priorities which makes his life that more meaningful. The high demand of fighting professionally had become a conflicting concern with other aspects of the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt’s life. At a crossroads, DeBlass made a surprise move that shocked many in the fight community. He left MMA.

DeBlass’s departure from the sport in November 2012 was fueled by the motive of devoting his energy into his Ocean Country Jiu-Jitsu academy and into his role as a family man. However, there are some things from which a person cannot fully walk away. These things form integral components which have molded him into the man he is today. They are not so easy to leave in the past. The long gated craving for the grind, sacrifice and battle was enough to prompt the long-awaited return of DeBlass to MMA competition.

Signing with Bellator MMA, DeBlass is now on a new venture that has thus far satisfied his craving for competition. He is now battling against some of the best light heavyweights in the world. With two impressive victories already this year over Carlos Brooks and UFC veteran Jason Lambert, DeBlass seemingly has not felt any ill effects from his time off.

The war is far from over. As long as there is a need to compete, he will forever continue his campaign to fulfill his full potential as a mixed martial artist.

“I’m only getting better,” DeBlass said. “Hopefully Bellator gives me [Quinton] “Rampage” [Jackson] in New Jersey. The future holds many great wars ahead, whether it is in the cage or on the mats. I don’t really know what challenges lie ahead, but I’m already training hard. I don’t believe in days off.

Top Photo: Tom DeBlass (Keith Mills/Sherdog

About The Author

Monta Wiley
Staff Writer

Monta Wiley is an aspiring sports journalist that has covered the world of MMA and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He has been a regular contributor to US Combat Sports. Monta has a Bachelor's degree in Aviation Administration from California State University-Los Angeles. Outside of his writing, you can find Monta at the gym honing his BJJ technique.